Join us on our faith journey as we follow Jesus to Ghana, West Africa!

Friday, July 06, 2007

All Creatures Great And Small, Part 1

Mary Kay writes...

One of the great things about living in Africa is the chance to see a different part of God’s creation.

I always enjoyed watching wildlife in the U.S. As a little girl, on our summer vacations in the Hill Country of Texas, my family, my grandparents and I would pile into the back of my grandfather’s pick-up each sunset and go for a drive. The purpose was to see how many deer we could count each evening, as they came out to graze. Some nights we would see over 100 during the 30 minutes or so we were out!

Later, as a Mom, the boys and I would laugh as we watched the squirrels play outside our kitchen window, and we would put out bird seed in our feeder to attract all sorts of birds. Occasionally, a rabbit would show up in our backyard (before we got a dog!). And for one brief period of about a month, there was a beautiful red fox that we would spot in the neighborhood as we walked to the bus stop.

But here in Ghana, wildlife watching has gone to a whole new level! When we first arrived in Accra, we were surprised to see so many chickens running loose, but now we are accustomed to spotting a good variety of animals in our urban neighborhood. There are goats, cows, and sheep, often with their herders nowhere obviously nearby. On the grassy area of the roundabout by our church here, a pair of tan donkeys have shown up, and a horse joins them sometimes, calmly grazing while watching the tro-tros and taxis speed by.

Last Christmas, when we traveled to the Volta Region, we were able to visit the village of Tafi Atome. Here, the traditional religion worshipped the local mona monkeys as messengers from the gods. Christianity almost wiped out the monkey population, as taboos were lifted and monkeys were killed because they represented the old ways. Fortunately, ecologists stepped in and were able to show the villagers how the monkeys could be saved and eco-tourism could improve their economy. Human visitors arrive each morning and evening to watch the monkeys, who now sleep safely close to the village. We were even able to feed them bananas – the monkeys would come right up to us and take the fruit from our hands!

But not all the wildlife is so innocent! In June, I took a bus to Wa to watch a borehole being drilled. At one stop, I looked down from my window at a man who was calling out loudly on the sidewalk, selling something. Movement on his hat caught my eye, and I looked closer: live scorpions! Imagine my discomfort when, as the bus was preparing to depart, he stepped on! Yikes! What if these critters got loose on our very crowded bus? It turned out he was selling bush medicines – herbs and barks to treat all sorts of ailments – including scorpion stings. He gave his sales pitch in both Wali and English for the benefit of the “oboruni” (foreigners) on board. He was very entertaining, reminding me of the patent medicine sellers in movies about the American West. But I never took my eyes off those scorpions!

“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small…the Lord God made them all.”

1 comment:

Ceana said...

Well written article.